"Death to Ratzinger"
'Leftist Groups' Threaten Pope's Life

Michael J. Matt
Editor, The Remnant

(Posted Oct. 22, 2007 www.RemnantNewspaper.com) I don’t know how many different ways this can be stated, but, after several attempts have evidently fallen on the deaf ears of our critics, I suppose one more try can’t hurt: It is our opinion that Pope Benedict’s motu proprio has little to do with mere appeasement of traditional Catholics and much to do with rectifying the crisis of Faith in the Church by resolving the crisis in liturgy. The Pope’s initiative is, it seems to us, as much about saving Europe and the Americas from death by drowning (in a sea of militant secularism) as anything else. As we’ve maintained all along, this thing is bigger than any of us.

Three months after the motu proprio was released longtime traditionalists by and large seem content to stay put in their chapels, oratories and Indult Mass centers, where they have access to priests they know and trust, even if it means continuing the commute. Most of the traditional Masses that happily have sprung up elsewhere since September 14th seem to be the result of initiatives undertaken by Novus Ordo priests and faithful weary of the Silly Season.

In other words, it’s a win-win proposition for everyone, except, perhaps, outfits such as the Southern Poverty Law Center, which now must badger their donors into accepting the ludicrous proposition that the millions of Catholics who are celebrating the return of traditional Catholicism and the old Mass are closet anti-Semites, racists and haters. That’s a tall order even for the SPLC, especially since the Pope himself has endorsed the very movement the SPLC would link to neo-Nazis, racists and other crazies. Their slanderous case against tradition-minded Catholics (guilty of such ‘hate crimes’ as believing in the sanctity of marriage and longing for the restoration of the pre-conciliar Latin Mass) suffered a serious setback on July 7, 2007, thanks to Benedict XVI.

Perhaps some readers are of the opinion that the SPLC’s puerile attacks on conservative Christians—which run the ideological gamut represented by everyone from Archbishop Lefebvre to Thomas Fleming to Chris Ferrara (that dastardly lawyer who had the unmitigated gall to try to save Terri Schiavo’s life!) to Pat Buchanan, Joe Sobran and all the way over to poor Lou Dobbs of CNN—should be dismissed for the preposterous fundraising stunts that they are.  Surely this would be so, were it not for the fact that Left-wing hate groups are beginning to pose a real threat to the personal safety of Christians on both sides of the Atlantic.

News agencies in Europe recently raised alarums over graffiti that turned up on buildings in Naples ahead of Pope Benedict’s scheduled visit to that city later this month. The graffiti spewed hate against Catholics and especially the Pontiff, calling specifically for “Death to Ratzinger”. According to Italy’s anti-terrorist police, these public death threats are likely the work of 'leftist groups'.

Readers will recall that similar graffiti against the Pope and Archbishop (recently made Cardinal) Angelo Bagnasco, head of the Italian Bishops Conference, appeared in a number of Italian cities earlier this year after Archbishop Bagnasco made comments in defense of traditional marriage. Ultimately, the Archbishop required police protection after bullets had been mailed to him on two separate occasions. This also was believed to be the work of ‘leftist groups’.

For all their hysteria over ‘dangerous’ rightwing Catholics, the SPLC can’t even come up with an allegation of such hate-based threats coming from our side of the aisle anywhere in the world, which should come as no surprise to anyone since a “Christian death threat” is an oxymoron. Death threats, hatred, and racism are morally unjustifiable and mortally sinful acts which, if left unrepented, are fatal to the soul—sort of defeating the purpose of striving to be a faithful Christian in the first place. It would be something like PETA hiring Michael Vic as Vice-President of Operations.

One wonders, therefore, when this rabblerousing against Catholics by far-Left groups is going to come under the purview of federal hate crimes statutes. I’m as opposed to ‘hate crimes’ power grabbing legislation as anyone, but, on the other hand and according to anti-terrorist police, our spiritual leaders are now being targeted for violent reprisals by leftist groups.  That’s a hate crime.  The  2000-year-old teaching authority of  Catholic religion is under attack. By extension, the Southern Poverty Law Center's efforts to forge bogus links between tradition-mined Catholic organizations such as The Remnant and racist neo-Nazis and advocates of violence could also be described as engendering hatred (and retaliation?) against a segment of society based on their religion—i.e., the traditional, Roman Catholic Faith.  Why else would the SPLC feature a fancy Hate Map on its website giving the names and towns of prominent tradition-minded Catholics?

After all, traditional Catholics threaten no one, hate no one, denounce racism, and reject violence! Membership in the Catholic Church is open to all nationalities, races and even those guilty of every manner of immorality. While sin cannot be condoned, it is nevertheless absolutely true that even the most unrepentant and hardened sinners--both inside the Catholic Church and out--must be loved (as Christ loves all men) and defended against those who would do them harm. This is standard traditional Catholic moral theology! It is forbidden under pain of mortal sin (death to the soul) to hate or attempt to harm anyone based on race, religion, skin color, lifestyle or anything else.

So why, exactly, are we being set up by the likes of the Southern Poverty Law Center for possible violent reprisals from Leftist terrorists who hate all things Catholic, including and especially the tradition-minded Pope Benedict XVI?  Who do these people think they’re kidding! Left unchecked, this sort of thing could easily lead to much more than mere threats of violence against Christians. Think of it: At this moment “The Remnant” (comprised of the present writer, his family, his wife, his little children) is listed as a “Hate Group” under the category of “General Hate” on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hate Map. What’s the purpose of this Hate Map? What sort of vigilante reprisals should we expect from such a reckless stunt? Why will the SPLC not meet with us to discuss their charges? If ‘hate group’ is to be defined as those who have public disagreements with people possessing a different worldview than their own, then indeed the largest pushpin on the Hate Map should be located over Montgomery, Alabama.

Hard to believe this sort of Orwellian policing of thoughts and the press is being attempted here in America!  It has all the earmarks of tactics once employed by jackbooted Gestapo thugs. But, one wonders, didn’t the world get a snootful of this sort of rot sixty years ago?  This isn’t Nazi Germany, you know—this is America! But change is in the wind even here in America, and if you’re a tradition-minded American Christian you’d better watch your back! If you’re a tradition-minded Pope,  better beef up the security! The Left’s ‘tolerant’ Peace Train seems to have jumped its tracks and is careening right for us.